ETYM Old Eng. antym, antefne, AS. antefen, from Late Lat. antiphona, from Greek antiphona, neut. pl. of antiphonon antiphon, or anthem.
1. A song in honor of a nation or people.
2. Any song or hymn of praise.
In music, a short, usually elaborate, religious choral composition, sometimes accompanied by the organ; also a song of loyalty and devotion.
ETYM Old Eng. hympne, hympne, French hymne, Old Fren. also hymne, Latin hymnus, Greek.
A song of praise (to God or to a saint or to a nation); SYN. anthem.
Song in praise of a deity. Examples include Ikhnaton’s hymn to the Aton in ancient Egypt, the ancient Greek Orphic hymns, Old Testament psalms, extracts from the New Testament (such as the “Ave Maria”), and hymns by the British writers John Bunyan (“Who would true valor see”) and Charles Wesley (“Hark! the herald angels sing”). The earliest sources of modern hymn melodies can be traced to the 11th and 12th centuries, and the earliest polyphonic settings date from the late 14th century. Gospel music and carols are forms of Christian hymn singing.
A song formally adopted as the anthem for a nation.
Patriotic song for official occasions. The US national anthem, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, was written 1814 by Francis Scott Key and was adopted officially 1931. In Britain ‘God Save the King/Queen’ has been accepted as such since 1745, although both music and words are of much earlier origin. The German anthem ‘Deutschland über Alles/Germany before Everything’ is sung to music by Haydn.
The French national anthem, the ‘Marseillaise’, dates from 1792.